Boating Industry

April 2016

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April 2016 | Boating Industry | 27 /// Market Trends /// BY BRIANNA LIESTMAN T he personal watercraft segment by na- ture is one that breeds an atmosphere of enthusiasm. That enthusiasm is matched by personal watercraft manufacturers, as all are in agreement that the state of the seg- ment couldn't be more positive. According to data from Info-Link Technolo- gies, personal watercraft sales grew 15.1 percent in 2015 overall. A combination of factors con- tribute to this increase, including sales at the state level being up across the board and rising between 15 and 20 percent in large markets like Florida, Texas and California. Sales are also up 20 to 25 percent in seasonal markets like Min- nesota and North Carolina. Peter Houseworth, director of client services at Info-Link, also said inherent characteristics of the personal watercraft market can be attributed to sales growth. There are roughly 1.3 million personal watercraft currently registered in the U.S., and among the existing fl eet the average age of units is approximately 15 years old; per- sonal watercraft, in general, have a shorter life cycle compared to boats. "The last market downturn that was expe- rienced also means the supply of pre-owned units to the personal watercraft market has been greatly reduced. For many consumers, the choice is between a seven- to 10-year-old unit and buying a new unit," said Houseworth. "Moreover, there are likely more technological advancements that can be cost-effectively retro- fi t to traditional boats to keep them viable for a longer service life. By comparison given the gen- erally lower price point of personal watercraft, the dynamic of replace versus retrofi t would tend to favor replacing a personal watercraft as com- pared to a traditional boat." Price point advances segment Manufacturers agree that new technologies have helped them propel sales growth in the past few years. "It bodes well, from our standpoint, that having new products come into market at attractive price points … I think that's what's driving a lot of the success here," said Bryan Seti, general manager of sales and marketing at Yamaha Watercraft Group. The growth of the personal watercraft seg- ment could easily be attributed to the sales of the Spark, which released in 2014. As Sea-Doo has tracked the success of the Spark with retail sales, consumer awareness, owner surveys and dealer feedback, Sea-Doo can confi dently attest that the company is bringing newer, younger buyers to UNIT SALES BY PROPULSION 12-MONTH ROLLING THROUGH DECEMBER Sea-Doo's personal watercraft sales grew 35 percent in 2015. Source: Info-Link Technologies

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